Why is school choice still on parents’ minds post-COVID?

  • National School Choice Week put a spotlight on the how parents remain interested in school choice following an initial surge driven by pandemic-related school closures.
  • Charter school enrollment is holding steady after a big boost in the early months of the COVID-19 health crisis, a charter advocacy group found.
  • Public school leaders are worried about how legislation that allows all or many students to use vouchers to attend private schools, combined with enrollment declines, will affect their schools.

Magda Gomez spent her Friday evening in Riverside, California, at a school fair set up at a church where about 300 families learned about different options for educating their kids: charter schools, private or parochial schools, homeschooling, public schools beyond their traditional neighborhood school and even so-called learning pods.

“We have here all of these choices,” Gomez said in an interview, comparing the school choice options in America with the lack of choice in Mexico, where she grew up.  She homeschooled her two daughters at first instead of sending them to a nearby Santa Ana, California, public school for seven years, until the girls chose to attend public high schools, she said, to give them a “better education.”

Similar scenes played out all over the nation last week, during an annual messaging and advocacy event that launched 12 years ago: National School Choice Week. The campaign, which champions alternatives to traditional public schooling, echoed political platforms from the November election advocating for school choice. 

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